Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Early Edition: October 12, 2016 by Zoë Chapman Wednesday October 12th, 2016 at 12:25 PM

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.
Saudi air forces shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthis at a city in the kingdom’s southwest last night, according to a statement by the Saudi-led coalition. [Reuters]
The West’s response to the Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a funeral in Sana’a on Saturday will determine if the war in Yemen deepens or moves toward a resolution, Maggie Michael and Ahmed Al-Haj write at the AP.
Indications that Iran-allied Houthi rebels were responsible for firing two ballistic missiles at the USS Mason off the coast of Yemen Sunday are being identified, US officials told Reuters’ Phil Stewart.
The Pentagon said it would find out who fired at the USS Mason and “take action accordingly”yesterday, adding that “anybody who puts US Navy ships at risk does so at their own peril.” [NBC News’ Courtney Kube and Corky Siemaszko]
The waters off Yemen are an emerging “missile kill-zone” meaning that even the best-defended US Navy warships may be pulled back from the region, while the US’s allies in the war-torn country stand even less of a chance, observes David Axe at The Daily Beast.
The attack on the US Navy is “another reminder” that the nuclear deal with Iran has done “more to embolden than moderate Tehran’s ambitions,” according to the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
The “uneasy mix” of forces poised to begin the battle to oust the Islamic State from the city of Mosul could delay the operation or lead to separate conflicts, warns Loveday Morris at the Washington Post.
Iraq’s Prime Minister rejected Turkey’s claims that its forces must be part of the operation to retake Mosul, putting increased pressure on the relationship between the two nations, Qassim Abdul-Zahra reports at the AP.
Turkish troops will remain in Iraq until the Islamic State is removed from Mosul, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said today. [Reuters]
Turkey must not be left out of the Mosul operation, Turkish President Erdoğan insisted yesterday, telling the Iraqi prime minister to “know his place.” [AP’s Susan Fraser]
The Islamic State has a new weapon in Iraq: exploding drones. Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt at the New York Times explain that the Islamic State has used small commercially available drones with explosive devices attached to them in the three known exploding drone attacks in Iraq so far.
Two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed and two French soldiers wounded by an exploding drone launched by the Islamic State earlier this month, Kurdish officials said today. [Reuters]
Accusations by the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that there is evidence showing Russia was responsible for the attack on an aid convoy in Syria yesterday have been dismissed as “Russophobic hysteria” by the Russian defense ministry, Patrick Wintour reports at the Guardian.  Johnson alsosaid that he believed Russia should be investigated for war crimes in Syria.
Islamic State militants are putting up “stiff resistance” to attacks by Turkey-backed rebels in northern Syria, Turkey’s military said today. [Reuters]
More German troops will be deployed to Turkey to help operate NATO surveillance aircraft as part of the US-led fight against the Islamic State in Syria, government sources said. [Reuters]
When will Iran, President Assad’s most important ally, abandon him? Ahmed al-Burai at al Jazeerasuggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Iran – which has backed Assad militarily and politically – would surely bet on several horses and is “almost certainly” laying the ground for a post-Assad Syria.
Putin’s behavior in Syria mirrors his approach to Chechnya, observes Oliver Bullough at the New York Times, describing the parallels between the two conflicts.
US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out eight airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Oct. 10. Separately, partner forces conducted nine strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]
Gunmen disguised as police officers attacked a Shi’ite shrine in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, last night, killing at least 14 people, officials and witnesses said. [New York Times’ Zahra Nader and Mujib Mashal]
Rampant government corruption is blamed for the increasing threat posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, most of which has been under the control of the militants for the past month, Karim Sharifi and Lynne O’Donnell report at the AP.
Hundreds of senior military staff serving at NATO in Europe and the US have been fired by Turkey in the wake of the July 15 failed coup, documents show, enveloping some of the armed forces’ best trained officials in the post-coup purge. Robin Emmott reports for Reuters.
Arrest warrants for 215 police officers were issued by Turkish authorities today as the post-coup purge continues, Reuters reports.
Greece has denied the asylum claims of four more of the eight Turkish military officers who fled there after the failed coup, the Wall Street Journal’s Nektaria Stamouli reports.
The White House promised to give a “proportional response” to Russia yesterday after US intelligence officials concluded it was behind the D.N.C. hack and subsequent leak of thousands of files in an attempt to influence the outcome of the US presidential election, The Wall Street Journal’s Carol E. Lee and Damian Paletta report.
It is “unlikely that our response would be announced in advance,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, which could mean some type of covert retaliation but could equally mean levying sanctions without warning, according to an international cyber policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. [POLITICO’s Louis Nelson]
The White House denied there was any political interference in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server yesterday in response to newly leaked emails showing discussions between a campaign aide to Clinton and Department of Justice officials, Jordan Fabian reports at the Hill.
The US Supreme Court agreed to decide whether high-ranking George W. Bush administration officials may be held liable for policies adopted following the 9/11 attacks yesterday, Adam Liptak reports at the New York Times.
A major terrorist attack on a Berlin airport was narrowly thwarted with the arrest of a Syrian refugee yesterday, according to the head of Germany’s federal domestic intelligence service. Alison Smale reports at the New York Times.
Lawyers representing November 2015 Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam have quit, saying he is likely to remain silent, Inti Landauro reports at the Wall Street Journal.
The government of Uruguay offered to bring the family of hunger striking ex-Guantánamo Bay detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab to him, saying that the visas to bring his wife and children to Uruguay have already been approved. [AP]
EU leaders meeting in Brussels next week to discuss sanctions on Moscow have “reason to be wary” given President Putin’s behavior in recent days, including sending Russian military jets to skirt the airspace of France, Norway, Spain and the UK, writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit China next week, China confirmed today, for what a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said would involve a “deep exchange of views.” The announcement comes as the Philippine’s relationship with its traditional ally, the US, frays, Reutersobserves.
A British man and two Somali women were arrested following a raid on a suspected al-Shabaab recuirtment base in Nairobi, the Guardian’s Murithi Mutiga reports.
FARC rebels still believe peace in Colombia is in reach and will not be the ones to start fighting again,they say. Juan Forero reports at the Wall Street Journal.
US military operations abroad is the most frequently-cited reason for homegrown terrorism,according to a secret FBI study, which concluded that it remains almost impossible to predict future attacks. [The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain and Cora Currier]
The last thing an EU troubled by debt, refugees and populist movemebts needs is its own army, and should instead focus on strengthening NATO, according to Judy Dempsey at the Washington Post.
Read on Just Security »
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Donald Trump is one more bullyboy in a world of strongmen - The ... - Washington Post

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Washington Post

Politics|Obama Considers 'Proportional' Response to Russian Hacking in US Election - New York Times

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New York Times

Politics|Obama Considers 'Proportional' Response to Russian Hacking in US Election
New York Times
“Only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” said a statement from the director of national intelligence, James RClapper Jr., and the Department of Homeland Security. The statement did not name President Vladimir V ...

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US files espionage charges against military contractors with Turkish ties 

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In a development that is expected to contribute to the downward spiral in Turkish-American relations, the United States government has reportedly filed espionage charges against three Department of Defense contractors with Turkish background.

Clinton aide links Trump campaign to Russian email hacking

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Hillary Clinton's top adviser said that Donald Trump's campaign new in advance of Russia's possible role in hacking thousands of his personal emails.

Activists say death toll rises in bombings of Syria’s Aleppo

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An intensive day of bombing in Syria's besieged rebel-held Aleppo city left at least 25 people dead, including five children.
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The Challenge of Border Life is a Foreign Concept for Most Americans 

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The Border: Sylvia Longmire is a subject matter expert in Mexico's drug cartels. A recent tale she heard involved not drugs or desert crossings but schools.

Shari’a Law and Its Influence on Terrorism 

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Shari’a law is a term that is frequently heard from multiple media and academic outlets. But, what is Shari’a law? What is its impact on terrorism?

House GOP Wants Independent Probe Of Clinton Insiders' 'Special Treatment' - Daily Caller

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The Hill

House GOP Wants Independent Probe Of Clinton Insiders' 'Special Treatment'
Daily Caller
Republican members of the House Committee on the Judiciary are calling on two agency watchdogs to investigate the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI's “special treatment” of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's closest aides. Chairman Rep.
New Chairmen Question DOJ on Agreement to Limit Investigation of (press release)

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Snowden investigator slams leaker-detector background checks - The Register

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The Register

Snowden investigator slams leaker-detector background checks
The Register
His comments come in the wake of the arrest of National Security Agency analyst Harold Thomas Martin III for allegedly hoarding top secret documents including code to help exploit systems used by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Lowry chalked up ...

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F.B.I. Investigating if Fatal Plane Crash in East Hartford Was Intentional 

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The pilot, who survived the crash, told investigators that it was not an accident, federal law enforcement officials said.

Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined -

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Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined
But the ACLU/Human Rights Watch report shows that arrests for drug possession continue to make up a significant chunk of modern-day police work. "Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report ...
US: Disastrous Toll of Criminalizing Drug UseHuman Rights Watch
Study: The war on drugs' human toll is stark. Here are ideas to fix it.The Cannabist
Leading US civil rights organizations call for decriminalization of personal drugsThe Guardian

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Page 7

New Report: Disastrous Toll of Drug Use Criminalization - Common Dreams (press release)

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New Report: Disastrous Toll of Drug Use Criminalization
Common Dreams (press release)
WASHINGTON - The massive enforcement of laws criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the United States causes devastating harm, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a joint report released today.
Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes
Leading US civil rights organizations call for decriminalization of personal drugsThe Guardian
Study: The war on drugs' human toll is stark. Here are ideas to fix it.The Cannabist
Human Rights Watch
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FBI Arrests Cyber Crime Suspect - Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)

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FBI Arrests Cyber Crime Suspect
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
On October 5, 2016, the El Paso Division of the FBI arrested 40 year old Joe Venzor in his residence without incident following an investigation into allegations of unauthorized intrusion upon protected computers. He is charged by a criminal complaint ...

U.S. Military Operations Are Biggest Motivation for Homegrown ... - The Intercept

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The Intercept

U.S. Military Operations Are Biggest Motivation for Homegrown ... 
The Intercept
A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of  ...
US intervention the reason for homegrown terrorism – FBI study ...RT
'Homegrown Terrorists' Are Mostly Motivated by US Atrocities ...Common Dreams (press release)

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Crossing the line: Yes, border officials and the FBI can — and do — rely on racial profiling - Salon

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Crossing the line: Yes, border officials and the FBI can — and do — rely on racial profiling
But while the Obama administration has taken the lead in cracking down on local abuses, it allows FBI agents and border officials broad leeway to profile based on race, religion and national origin when it comes to recruiting informants and policing ...

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FBI cuts ribbon on new location next to TopGolf - KCRA Sacramento

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KCRA Sacramento

FBI cuts ribbon on new location next to TopGolf
KCRA Sacramento
"To better allow the FBI to manage its real estate to focus less on rent and more on mission," said Norman Dong, public buildings service commissioner, General Services Administration. Comey also joked that everyone who attended the ribbon-cutting may ... 
FBI Office in Roseville Now OpenRocklin and Roseville Today

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FBI Director in Roseville for New Field Office Opening - FOX40

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FBI Director in Roseville for New Field Office Opening
"I'm happy to have you as the newest addition to our community. Welcome to Roseville," Roseville Mayor Carol Garcia said. Hundreds of VIPs attended the grand opening of the 122,000-square-foot facility on Freedom Way. This office will be the ...
FBI cuts ribbon on new location next to TopGolfKCRA Sacramento

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Page 8

Podesta: Trump ally had 'advance warning' of hacked emails - Politico

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Voice of America

Podesta: Trump ally had 'advance warning' of hacked emails
Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta said Tuesday that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the hack of his Gmail account -- and suggested a top Trump adviser colluded with WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence to ...
Clinton campaign chairman ties email hack to Russians, suggests Trump had early warningWashington Post
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Hacked EmailsVoice of America

Clinton campaign chief Podesta: FBI probing hack of his emailsReuters
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US|FBI Investigating if Fatal Plane Crash in East Hartford Was Intentional - New York Times

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New York Times

US|FBI Investigating if Fatal Plane Crash in East Hartford Was Intentional
New York Times
The F.B.I. is investigating whether the crash of a small plane in East Hartford, Conn., that killed a passenger on Tuesday was intentional, according to four federal law enforcement officials. The pilot, who survived the crash, told investigators that ... 
One Dead, Pilot Hurt In Plane Crash; FBI Investigating Whether It Was AccidentHartford Courant
1 dead, 1 injured in Connecticut plane crash; FBI investigating, reports sayWCVB Boston

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Clinton campaign chairman ties email hack to Russians, suggests Trump had early warning - Washington Post

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Voice of America

Clinton campaign chairman ties email hack to Russians, suggests Trump had early warning
Washington Post
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, said Tuesday that the FBI is investigating a "criminal hack" of his private email account, which he blamed on Russia and suggested that the campaign of Republican ...
Podesta: Trump ally had 'advance warning' of hacked emailsPolitico
Clinton Campaign Chief Says FBI Investigating His Hacked EmailsVoice of America
Clinton campaign chief Podesta: FBI probing hack of his emailsReuters
Yahoo7 News -RT -Hong Kong Standard (press release)
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Security fears over FBI contracting out highly sensitive surveillance documents - The Guardian

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The Guardian

Security fears over FBI contracting out highly sensitive surveillance documents
The Guardian
Since 2015, the FBI has entrusted a national-security professional services contractor, Aveshka, to prepare, organize, courier and disseminate surveillance materials, including documentation leading to court orders under the Foreign Intelligence ...

FBI investigating if deadly Connecticut plane crash was intentional, reports say - Fox News

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Fox News

FBI investigating if deadly Connecticut plane crash was intentional, reports say
Fox News
A deadly small plane crash that killed a Jordanian national in Connecticut on Tuesday was reportedly not an accident, and the FBI has been called in to assist with the investigation. The pilot of the twin-engine Piper PA-34, who has not been identified ...
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What Happened To America? – OpEd 

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President Obama’s legacy is on the line. He must either rise to meet the challenge by taking courageous and decisive military measures; or continue his futile diplomacy, watch the systematic disintegration of a whole country, severely damaging America’s international standing, and undermining its critical global role in the pursuit of peace and stability.
By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir*
Much has been written about the unfolding tragedy in Syria, but how many of these unimaginable atrocities have been etched in the consciousness of the American public? As president, Obama refuses to rise up to stop this unfathomable horror; thousands more innocent men, women, and children are butchered each week and we still play politics with the lives of so many more who will not escape death as long as we continue to sit on our hands.
I urge every reader of this column to spare a moment and imagine the plight of the Syrian people, especially the children. This is what you will see: more than 50,000 children under the age of 15 have been killed—if they stood shoulder to shoulder, they would form a line 80 miles long. Two and a half million children are languishing in refugee camps, including 306,000 that have been born since the civil war began in 2011. Eight million children inside and outside the country are in desperate in need of food and medical care. More than 15,000 children crossed Syria’s borders by themselves; many were left to die not knowing what happened to them and why. One in three children have endured horrific violence against them and their families, and over 2.5 million children have no access to basic education.
Take another moment and imagine children being pulled from the rubble—the dead, the severely wounded, the unconscious, and the ones who are still awake but do not know what struck them and why. The death toll of children and adults alike has been reduced to mere numbers – ‘worthless’ statistics – which no longer resonate as we have become comfortably numb. As you keep imagining, you will see countless children waiting like sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered on the altar of the international community’s complete and utter moral bankruptcy.
What happened to our moral responsibility? How can we watch Aleppo’s systematic destruction and allow the daily massacre of hundreds of innocent women and children? I shed tears for every child, I weep for every little lifeless body who never knew what was happening around them, or why they were ever born.
Perhaps the most catastrophic result of Syria’s war is that two or three generations of Syrians have now been lost. No words can describe the atrocities and savagery raging in Syria, and yet they are met with indifference and ineptitude by the international community. I wonder what happened to America—can we afford to remain silent, and if we do not rise to stop this madness, who will?
How many more times should we attempt to establish a ceasefire with Russia only for it to be violated time and again? Putin is a ruthless and deceitful dictator with no conscience or human decency. His ambition in the Middle East trumps the lives of every Syrian citizen; he is morally corrupt at his core.
We should have long since known that no ceasefire agreement with Russia will hold as long as Putin believes that time is on his side, and that he can further consolidate his gains and exploit the vacuum we left and our unwillingness to put an end to the slaughter with the use of force.
Only recently, John Kerry expressed deep frustration about the Obama administration’s approach to resolving the conflict, and he correctly pointed out that if diplomacy is not backed by the credible threat of force, it is doomed to fail.
This is precisely why Putin and Assad felt they could violate the second ceasefire with impunity. Indeed, the failure to punish Assad when he crossed Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons in 2013 left him and Putin undeterred to indiscriminately kill and maim, leaving nothing but the shadows of hell lurking behind.
The question for the US is, how much longer can we afford to watch from the sideline and allow the unforgiven slaughter of innocent men, women, and children to continue unabated? Whether or not we aim to establish another ceasefire, we must first send a clear and unambiguous message to Putin and Assad.
Obama must immediately establish a no-fly zone with the full cooperation of Turkey, which is eager to do so, authorize the bombing of Assad’s runways and air force hangers to destroy much of his military planes, and provide moderate rebels such as the Free Syrian Army, which the US has been supporting from day one, with shoulder-fired rockets to down low-flying drones and helicopters to end the dropping of barrel bombs that kill indiscriminately and lay complete neighborhoods in ruin. These military measures will inhibit the Russians from attacking areas held by the rebels, as Putin would certainly not want to escalate tensions with the US.
This may seem as if we are waging a proxy war against Russia. Yes we are; we have been waging a proxy war against Russia for five years. We have been supporting the rebels against Assad while Russia has been aiding Assad militarily, and more than a year ago it openly joined the military campaign.
While the battle against ISIS is necessary and it must be defeated, it should not have been done at the expense of leaving Putin and Assad to hammer the rebels freely, and in the process kill an untold number of innocent civilians.
To be sure, Obama’s unwillingness to take forceful actions in Syria in the past five years led to the disintegration of the country, which is a continuation of Bush’s disastrous Iraq war only in another form.
Taking such decisive military measures is still in line with President Obama’s unwillingness to introduce ground troops in yet another regional conflict because a) it does not risk the lives of many of our soldiers, and b) it will not cause considerable collateral damage.  We cannot remain idle as the alternative is simply unthinkable.
Putin will have a completely free hand to do what he wishes in Syria, and leave it to him to expand his outreach to other countries in the region, substantially enhance his credibility as an unwavering supporter of his allies, and dangerously infringe on America’s sphere of geostrategic influence with impunity.
Iran will not hesitate to further increase its military and material support of Assad, consolidate its presence in Syria, and kill as many rebels ‘in the name of Allah;’ it will be further emboldened to intimidate the Gulf States and intensify its military campaign in Yemen in its pursuit of regional hegemony.
Assad, who has been gaining both in territory and prestige in recent months as a result of Putin’s unmitigated support, will have no reason to compromise and will continue to fight to the last rebel to ensure that he will be a significant part of any future solution to the conflict.
Though Russia, Iran, and Assad are guilty of war crimes, they sadly still have a role to play in shaping Syria’s future. However, no negotiation with Putin should ever take place to reach a new ceasefire before we undertake such a military campaign, and any future negotiations must also be conditional upon the cessation of all hostilities by Putin and Assad first.
Abandoning Syria to the whims of Putin and Assad and allowing the merciless butchering of its people is a betrayal of our most cherished moral values. We must rise to stop the evil perpetuated by Putin, Assad, and Khamenei, or forfeit our moral responsibility and our credibility with our friends and allies.
President Obama’s legacy is on the line. He must either rise to meet the challenge by taking courageous and decisive military measures, saving the lives of countless Syrians while paving the way for his successor to pursue a new strategy to end the civil war from a position of strength; or continue his futile diplomacy, watch the systematic disintegration of a whole country and the slaughter of its people with apathy and indifference, leave a tarnished legacy that will haunt him for the rest of his life and beyond, severely damage America’s international standing, and undermine its critical global role in the pursuit of peace and stability.
I want to believe that Obama will not allow America to descend this low, where the Trumps of our time can rise.
*Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.
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Page 9

Can Oil Prices Continue Upward Trend? – OpEd

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One of the questions haunting exploration and production (E&P) companies is how soon and how much will oil prices rise by end of this year? The reply is simple, any hike in price is dependent on how much output producers are willing to relinquish.
Therefore, the first point to explore is who will take the lead in cutting output.
The western media is still keeping the hype that Saudi Arabia has to cut its output, but the biggest stumbling blocks are Iran and Iraq. The media continues to spread disinformation that since Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to be the worst of foes, any reduction in output by Saudi Arabia remains a remote possibility.
According to a Reuters report, “Oil rose to a one-year high on optimism regarding a future agreement between OPEC and major producers to restrict output.”
The report also said, “Significant doubts whether they (production cut targets) will actually be fulfilled as rivalry between OPEC members, who are fighting aggressively for global markets share, could prevent an effective deal.”
As per a report by Goldman Sachs to clients on Tuesday that despite a production cut becoming a “greater possibility”, markets were unlikely to rebalance in 2017. The rationale was, “Higher production from Libya, Nigeria and Iraq are reducing the odds of such a deal rebalancing the oil market in 2017 and even if OPEC producers and Russia implemented strict cuts, higher prices would allow U.S. shale drillers to raise output.”
Initially, I held the point of view that most of the shale oil producers were unable to continue production below US$50 barrel due to accumulated losses. Now, however, I believe that they have withstood the test, which is evident from the persistent increase in number of active rigs. However, the number of operating rigs is still less than 25% of total installed rigs.
The moral of the story is that shale oil producers are more anxiously awaiting a hike in price, but out of desperation they want to increase the number of operating rigs and snatch the Saudi share as early as possible. They have invested billions of dollars on the hope that the oil price would not fall below US$50/barrel. The crash that began in 2014 has shattered their dreams.
Even geopolitical turmoil in MENA has failed in deterring OPEC members, mostly located in the region where proxy wars have been going on for more than last two years.
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How Realistic Are Wars And The New Geopolitical Structure – OpEd 

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“Political realism is aware of the moral significance of political action. It is also aware of the ineluctable tension between the moral command and the requirements of successful political action. And it is unwilling to gloss over and obliterate that tension and thus to obfuscate both the moral and the political issue by making it appear as though the stark facts of politics were morally more satisfying than they actually are, and the moral law less exacting than it actually is.” — Hans Morgenthau, Classical Realist (1904-1980)
The realignment of ‘Balance of Power’, in contemporary International Politics has resulted in a paradigmatic move in the Classical Realist teachings of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hans Morgenthau, Reinhold Niebuhr and Nicholas Spykman, wherein the fulcrum of politics and political action has shifted inexorably towards Structural Realism and Security Dilemma. India’s adversarial relations with Pakistan, rising Chinese interference in South Asia, United States of America intervening in all matters of Realpolitik are all crucial components of new Security Studies and Neo Realism or Structural Realism as propounded by Kenneth Waltz and Joseph Grieco.
Classical Realists like Morgenthau held a pessimistic view of human nature. The ‘ism’ was primarily based on the realities of human nature, hunger for power, survival and how conflict was an intrinsic part of insane human nature. Hence Conflict or War was a natural phenomenon. Classical Realists dissected political action during the inter war years mostly after the second world war hence conflict became an act of individual achievements and since the state comprised of individuals, the power of the state was unchallenged or sovereign. Justice, law and society were circumscribed. Morgenthau opined that when we speak of power, we mean man’s control over the minds and actions of other men. By political power we refer to the mutual relations of control among the holders of public authority and between the latter and the people at large. The shift in classical realism was witnessed in the 1980’s when Kenneth Waltz opined that it is the anarchy in International political structure that determines political action or international power structure. How power was distributed in the international political order was the crucial cog of political studies.
With the killing of Burhan Wani, a young Hizb-ul-Mujahidden operative in Kashmir, attacks in Uri, surgical strikes carried out by India to wipe out terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and China technically putting on hold the listing of Masood Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief as an international terrorist, the security dilemma has become an inevitable and an unavoidable reality. In Syria, Bashar al Assad is receiving staunch support from Putin’s Russia in the fight against ISIS, What Putin is also trying to ensure is a permanent support base in Syria as a hedge against the power of the US in the middle east. In the new Cold War between Russia and the US, the nuclear dimension is again gaining centre stage, as it is in the stand off between India and Pakistan in the subcontinent. Propaganda has indeed replaced moral philosophy. Offensive and Defensive realism has replaced classical realism. The current international political order is as anarchic as it can be with nations hedging their conventional war waging capabilities with nuclear options.
Security Dilemma, the third dimension of Realism essentially focuses on the rising insecurities among states when one state expands its nuclear and defensive power capabilities in the name of self help or self defence. All this is based on intuition. There isn’t an actual war going on but threat perceptions are such that are used to justify defence preparedness in an era of globalisation, asymmetric threats, changing and increasingly digitized battlefields and strides in weapon technologies. The structure of international political order is a powerful determinant of state behaviour today. Conflict studies dissect the role of this structure in carrying out research on conflict transformation and peace building. In 1979 Kenneth Waltz in his “Theory of International Politics” stated that anarchy prevents the states from entering into cooperative agreements to end the state of war. Critiquing the Idealistic theory of conflict Neo-Realists argue that structural dimensions of political order determine the trajectory of existing conflicts today. Wheeler and Booth argued that Security Dilemma exists when military preparations of one state determine the policies of another.
The recent cancellation of the annual summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) in Pakistan was primarily due to members refusing to attend in view of Pakistan’s state sponsored terrorism. There are more and increasing demands for declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state; its isolation eminently gave rise to a new dilemma whether the political order that exists today is capable of doing so. The idea of balance of power as propounded by the realists essentially means an arrangement to control aggression but with Pakistan continuously provoking India through terrorist attacks and proxy war the entire fabric of balance of power has been distorted. The conventional superiority of India has been largely nixed by this proxy war. To add to the dilemma, Pakistan is a nuclear state with a professed ‘first use’ doctrine, and gets support from China, the other power aspiring to hegemon status.
In response to the terrorist attack in Uri in which 18 Indian soldiers were martyred, India conducted surgical strikes across the LoC in PoK. Pakistan conducted journalists on their side of the LoC to justify its stance that no strikes actually took place. This was followed by (according to reports in the media) the Indian Army taking a team of journalists along the Line of Control to brief them on the situation post the heavy firing across the LoC by Pakistani troops. If reports are to be believed, both countries are claiming their readiness for any eventuality post the strikes. In the narrative as it has unfolded, the role of the fourth estate in conflict scenarios can no longer be undermined. This is equally applicable in the new world order across the globe.
The history of the formation of nation states is intertwined with armed conflicts and bloodshed. War in its protieform manifestation is central to the understanding of International Relations and several other cognate disciplines. When India for example was partitioned in 1947 there were riots and an immense refugee crisis. Similar examples can be seen in the case of Israel, Palestine and all other nations grappling with ethno-national violence and the resultant bellicose tactics used by the governments to suppress such violence.
According to Clausewitz war is an extension of politics by other means .Headly Bull defined war as organized violence carried on by political units against each other. Nations today are accelerating their defence modernisation process and conducting nuclear tests to augment their conventional capabilities for waging war. The psychological pressures by the international community including the United Nations have fairly managed to control nuclear proliferation across the globe, but this influence seems to be waning now. Both India and Pakistan are traditional adversaries and nuclear states. It is best to avoid full blown war.
What is war? E H Carr and Hans Morgenthau had opined that nation states will go to any length to gain power. Geopolitical wars have changed the geography of the world map. Conflicts or wars have existed since time immemorial. Gray, Kaldor, Thornton , Hoffman, Bousquet and Creveld have explored the many dimensions of war, be they hybrid, postmodern or asymmetric. War is essentially rooted in socio-political, psychological, cultural or economic inequalities. Internal conflicts such as the Naxalite movement in India are quintessential cases of resource inequality. War or conflict is more than just an act of violence. It is an action-reaction mechanism based on historical transformations of human societies.
Institutionalization of war is yet another dimension that has been a central theme of political studies and International Relations. In common parlance, Institutionalization refers to the process of embedding some conception (for example a belief, norm, social role, particular value or mode of behaviour) within an organization, social system, or society as a whole. The defence forces in India follow a structural pattern of hierarchy and the institution of the defence mechanism is guided by policy makers from the Ministry of Defence, India. The discipline of International relations was moulded to suit the objectives of the United Nations created in 1945 to save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war. But some wars are never ending. They may not be a full fledged armed violence; proxy wars can disrupt the social fabric of political societies as well.
There are several dynamics of war that need to be understood to tackle internal and external disturbances. The first is to deal with economic inequality. Redistribution of wealth or dictatorship of the proletariat as crafted by Karl Marx is an important study in itself. Other factors include religious differences, territorial disputes, violence against women, gender inequality, political non representation etc. The mechanism of war is like a manipulative tool in the hands of the political establishments to suit specific interests. Analogy can be drawn in the case of the fourth estate which focuses on dramatic stories, sensationalism to increase their TRP’s. This is also a war, a war to win the first slot during primetime telecast of debates.
It is very difficult to understand the logic behind conflicts and wars; as Clausewitz opined there is a marked difference between absolute and real wars. Wars are politically motivated. Unless a just social order is put in place inter and intra state conflict will continue to plague human societies. With the disintegration of the Soviet Block in 1991, the world witnessed the rise of United States of America as the new hegemon controlling international politics. In recent years economic development and globalisation has led to many nations competing with the hegemon for their space in the international arena. India is seen as a dominant state in South Asia; the rise of the Dragon is a direct attack on America’s hegemonic superpower status and equally on India’s aspirations.
New balance of power always replaces the old one. This is an important tenet of Realism. Realism therefore has not lost its relevance today. World wars may be over, but the new wave of cold war between India and its traditional adversary Pakistan has changed the dynamics of International political order.
*Vishakha Amitabh Hoskote, MA MPHIL (International Relations, Political Science, Development Communication)
Reference Reading:
Clausewitz von Carl “On War” 1832
Aday S , The Real War Will Never Get on Television: Casualty Imagery in American Television Coverage of the Iraq War. In: Seib, P. ed. Media and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2015,Print
Alexander, Yonah. Terrorism and the Media. Brasseys (US): Richard Lalter Inc, 1999.Print.
Allan Stuart and Zelizer Barbie, Reporting War-Journalism in Wartime, Taylor & Francis Ltd,United Kingdom.2004.Print
Hampson Osler Fen, Crocker A Chester and Aall R Pamela, Negotiation and International Conflict, (Ed) Weber Charles, Galtung Johan, Handbook of Peace and Conflict Studies, Routeledge, 2007,Print.
Forging Peace :Intervention, Human Rights and the Management of media ,Indiana University Press 2007 primarily focusses on role of media in conflict situations and impact of information intervention in escalation, de escalation of conflicts.
Media and Political Conflict, Cambridge University Press, 1997. This book gives an insight on the role of news media as participants in conflict. The author has analysed the role of media in the Gulf War, the Palestinian Intifada, and the attempt by the Israeli right wing to derail the Israel- Palestine Peace Accord.3
Constructive Conflicts-From Escalation to Resolution Louis Kriesberg and Bruce W Dayton Rowman &Little field 2011
Cottle,Simon, Mediatised Recognition and “The Other”, 2007,MIACP
Giddens, Anthony, Sociology-6th edition, “The Media”, 2009 Cambridge
Morgenthau Hans and Thompson W Kenneth, “Politics Among Nations” 1948
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